What is the role of ultrasonography (US) in the evaluation of breast implants?

Updated: Feb 01, 2017
  • Author: Paul R Fisher, MD; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Although MRI is accurate in evaluating silicone implants for rupture, MRI is not readily available or cannot be used in a number of circumstances. For instance, rupture of implants may be evaluated with ultrasonography. On US, an intact implant has an echogenic wall, and its contents are anechoic. Normal folds in the implant wall may be seen. US may demonstrate the stepladder sign, consisting of multiple lines in the implant when an intracapsular rupture occurs or when an extracapsular rupture occurs, producing the snowstorm sign of increased echogenicity. US can provide additional information about implants, and it may also help in evaluating breast masses that are unrelated to the implant.


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